Getting to know you – Karen James, Lilac James Co.

What do you currently do?

I founded the Lilac James Co. over 4 years ago. Lilac James is a Marketing & SEO Agency based near Cambridge.
What is your inspiration in business?

Having held a successful Corporate position it was important to me to prove that I could do it for myself. Like most people I had always want to run my own business. I also wanted to create a better work life balance for myself and my family, to lose the 40,000 miles a year behind the wheel and the stress that comes with it.
Who do you admire?

People who have done it for themselves from the bottom up. Setting something up from zero is very difficult, it takes enormous commitment and hard work. People like Duncan Bannatine who is very straight talking but who has been enormously successful without a hint of airs and graces. Duncan came to business quite late in life aged 30, and says; ‘If you are unhappy in life the only person responsible for not changing it is you!’. That struck a chord with me.
Looking back are there things you would have done differently?

I was very naive about local networking. As a result I wasted considerable time and money on networking groups that were never going to bring me any business.
What defines your way of doing business?

I am a people person. Selling a service is all about selling yourself, your knowledge and your expertise. Whilst I have staff that carry out the various tasks everything is overseen by me, I find that I use my formal marketing qualifications and my commercial experience in everything I touch. Being so central to the business is not great for holidays but it is who I am and it has proved successful so far.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Don’t jump in joining groups and wasting money on printed literature or promotional items. A website is a must but after that take your time when considering marketing options. Pick the lowest hanging fruit, the places where you think you can get the biggest bang for your buck. After that measure it, monitor it and adjust. Don’t be frightened to make a mistake, most successful entrepreneurs have made massive ones! If something works do it again only do it better. Above all work like stink because the harder you work the luckier you usually get!